Title: Smile! Now Show Me Your Shoes
Location: Thame, Solukhumbu, Nepal, Asia (27°49’49” N 86°38’56” E)
Description: The Sherpas I met in Nepal were, by and large, nice people who are easy to smile. As long as you aren’t pointing a camera at them. At that point, most will turn serious for their portrait and it’s why a I often get asked, “Do you ask permission before taking a photo? If you do, don’t people then just pose?” The answers are yes and yes. But…
I decided I needed to do something to bring out the smiles I saw just before I took the portrait. So I turned my camera down for two purposes, on a whim. The first purpose was to show another aspect of life in the Himalayas; footwear. Sometimes the most traditionally dressed people are wearing brand new knock-off Nikes. And sometimes the most ragged porters are wearing the most ragged flipflops.
Either way, I wanted to show another side of those I met that isn’t often examined.
My second reason for taking shoe pictures is because it distracted the stoic subjects. They wondered what the heck I was doing, looked down, and then looked up laughing or smiling when they realized I was taking pictures of their shoes. It caught most people off guard and relaxed them again and I was able to capture many ‘natural’ photos this way.
In this picture are three siblings’ shoes, just before they were to head to school in the village of Thame, Nepal. Kids being kids, they realized what I was doing and hammed it up, shoe-style, for the camera.
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